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tv   Lawmakers Consider Resolution for Impeachment Procedures  CSPAN  September 14, 2019 10:00am-11:53am EDT

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>> the house judiciary committee met thursday to consider a resolution on the guidelines and scope for an impeachment investigation into president trump. the resolution was adopted along party lines by a vote of 24-17. this is just under two hours. mr. nadler: the judiciary committee will please come together. a quorum being present, without objection, the chair will declare for recess at any time. the chair may postpone further proceedings today on the question of approving any measure or matter or adopting amendments for which the yeas and nays are ordered. pursuant to notice, i call the
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chair's resolution for investigative procedures for purposes of markup and move that the committee agree to the resolution. the clerk will report the resolution. the clerk: resolution for investigative procedures offered by chairman jerrold nadler. the committee issued multiple discovery requests to individuals with potential information relative to its investigation into the alleged obstruction of justice, public corruption, and other abuses of power by president trump, his associates, and members of his administration. whereas special counsel robert mueller's report released on april 18, 2019, found that the russian government interfered- mr. nadler: without objection, the resolution is considered as read and open for amendment at any point. i will begin by recognizing myself for an opening statement. the resolution before us represents the necessary next step in our investigation of corruption, obstruction, and abuse of power.
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this committee has already covered the central findings of the special counsel's investigation. the president's 2016 campaign asks for and received the assistance of the russian government. key figures from the campaign then lied to federal investigators about it. the special counsel found that at least 10 times the president took steps to interfere with the investigation. in at least five of those incidents, the special counsel concluded that all of the elements necessary to charge obstruction of justice had been met. our investigation is not only about obstruction. our work must extend beyond the four corners of the mueller report. we have a responsibility to consider allegations of federal election crimes, self-dealing, violations of the constitution's emoluments clause and to prevent current and future attacks by foreign adversaries. f course, this committee and others have gone to court to secure evidence that has been withheld from congress on
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indefensible legal grounds. former white house counsel donald mcgahn is not, quote, absolutely immune, unquote, from appearing before this committee. the president has found to, quote, fight all of the subpoenas, unquote, and this, too, is conduct that requires a ongressional response. as members of congress and in particular, members of the house judiciary committee, we have a responsibility to investigate each of these allegations and to determine the appropriate remedy. that responsibility includes making a judgment about whether to recommend articles of impeachment. that judgment cannot be based on our feelings about president trump. it should not be a personal reaction to misguided policies or personal behavior. it must be a decision based on the evidence before us.
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the evidence that keeps coming in. now, there's been a good amount of confusion in the press and elsewhere about how we should alk about this work. some have said that absence some grand moment in which we passed dramatically from concerns about the president's conduct to actively considering articles of impeachment, it's hard to know exactly what the committee is doing here. others have argued that we can do none of this work without first having an authorizing vote on the house floor. the house vote is not required by the rules of the house or by the constitution. as the argument ignores-- precedent in which no such vote was taken. there should be no doubt about our purpose. we have been open about our plans in this committee for many months. recounted in the preamble in the constitution before us now. on march 4, 2019, we sought information from many sources related to, quote, alleged obstruction of justice, public corruption, other abuses of power by president trump. may 8, we recommended that the household attorney general barr in contempt.
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as part of that recommendation, the committee was clear there were, quote, includes whether to improve-- approve articles of impeachment with respect to the president, closed quote. on june 11, the house approved h.res. 430, authorizing this committee to enforce its subpoenas in court. the committee report stated explicitly that our work includes whether to approve articles of impeachment with eference to the president. pursuant to that resolution, on july 26, we asked a federal court to access the grand jury information. we told the court that it falls to this committee to, quote, exercise a constitutional power of the utmost gravity, approval of articles of impeachment, closed quote. on august 7, we filed suit to enforce our subpoena for mr. mcgahn. there, again, we told the court that we require his testimony in order to help decide whether to
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recommend articles of impeachment. in each of these documents, we have been explicit about our intentions. this committee is engaged in an investigation that will allow us to determine whether to recommend articles of impeachment with respect to president trump. that is what we are doing. some call this process an impeachment inquiry. some call it an impeachment investigation. there's no legal difference between these terms, and i no longer care to argue about the omenclature. let me be clear up any doubt. we have an obligation to respond to this threat, and we are doing so. under the procedures outlined in this resolution, we will hold hearings that allow us to further consider the evidence against the president. at those hearings, in addition to member questioning, we will allow staff counsel to participate for one hour per witness evenly divided between the majority and minority. this will allow us to develop
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the record in ways that the five-minute rule does not always ermit. we will also allow the president to respond to the evidence in writing and on the record. no matter how we may disagree with him, president trump is entitled to respond to the evidence in this way. we will treat certain sensitive evidence, such as grand jury information, as being received in executive session. under these procedures, when we will have finished these hearings and consider as much evidence as we are able to gather, we will then decide whether to refer articles of impeachment to the house floor. we have a constitutional, historical, moral obligation to fully investigate these matters and to make that decision. let us take the next step in that work without delay. i urge my colleagues to adopt this resolution. i yield back. i now recognize the ranking member of the judiciary committee, the gentleman from georgia, mr. collins, for his opening statement.
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mr. collins: thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate this. welcome to everybody here who was expecting one thing and getting another. last week, i was driving to a great event. it is the opening of football season at the university of georgia. we're going between the hedges. the day was starting. it was our first home game. my wife and i were driving down the road, and she's looking at her phone. she's bored. she's looking and she's in her instagram account. she looks over at me and she shows me this picture of a person, a family member, close family member. she looks over and says, megan told me about filters that you can use to make your appearance look better. and i said, yeah. what are you talking about? well, look at this picture. this looks nothing like our family member. what did she do? i said, well, lisa, i don't know. i said, undoubtedly she used one of the filters. what's happened today is great. the judiciary committee has became a giant instagram filter. to make you appear that something's happening that's not. it's really interesting.
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he difference between formal impeachment proceedings and what we're doing today is a world apart, no matter what the chairman just said. what we're looking at here is a filter to make you believe something. it's great, though, because i love this. i have not seen this much press at 8:00 in the morning in a long time. when we look at this, though, let's look at the facts. nothing we have here is anything that could not have been handled five minutes before a hearing of any time that we have. the filter may think-- make you think something's happening, but really what we have is the walkdown the yellow brick road. in fact, you want to see the yellow brick road, go to the whereas clauses? the emerald city is-- the democrats have been desperate since they won the majority. they walked. look at the whereas clauses on what they're doing and how
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they're doing in. in fact, what's really interesting is the whereas clauses in the second paragraph. admits the russian government interfered in the 2016 election. yet, we had no hearings and no bills brought forward in this committee that deals with that issue. undoubtedly acknowledged it like we have done a lot of things in this committee, but we don't want to solve it. because we'd rather talk about it. so we continue the whereas clauses. we continue the whereas his. the yellow brick road. what's interesting, all along they thought people were coming along with them and the public was happy with this and members within their own party were happy about this. somewhere along the yellow brick road they said, there's not all of us here. people aren't following anymore. then we come to today. the resolve part which is the real part of this resolution which, again, for all the folks covering this, this is not anything special. in fact, let's talk about it. the chairman may designate a full hearing for presentation. oh, my goodness. the chairman could wake up this morning and say, this is what we're doing today.
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why do we need a resolve clause for this? i don't know we needed to define the chairman's authority to determine what we're doing today. he made it clear the whole year, this is what he wants to do. if a witness is called to testify, the committee staff-- here we are again. because we know it looks more impeachment-like if we have staff asking questions. i don't know what it's like on the other side of the aisle here. but staff meetings must be heck around here because i've never seen a majority bunch of members who desperately want to give away their authority to staff to do something. i have never seen this with a brand of lawyers that you have on your side of the aisle, im amazed that you just don't ask for more member questioning and let some of the brilliant lawyers go at it, because they're good. yet, undoubtedly, i'm not-- like i said, i am not sure who-- what's happening on that side, but this desperation to get staff to be in the spotlight
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to ask questions is just something that is, again, instagram filter. let's put it in there to look like something that's really not. for some lawyers-- i am looking at one right here, mr. raskin, is amazing. i don't understand this one. hey, again-- again, though, let me think, this could have been done at any hearing, at any hearing we do, the chairman just has to bring it up as a motion. it's in the rules. we don't have to be doing this as a resolution. but it looked really good over the weekend when we said we're going to start inquiries into impeachment and we are going to put regulations in place to do that. and then it went off the track completely through the week because even leadership didn't know what they were doing. then, number three-- now, this one's a problem. it talks about executive session, how they're going to handle information. because here's a problem. they already promised in court filings they had these procedures in place. in fact, i wrote a letter to the chairman saying, no, you really don't here. the copy of the letter i have here. you don't have these in
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place. and so it's really interesting. maybe this is a time. maybe they thought the judges would miss it. right now the tv cameras on judges. you might want to look at this. they didn't have the procedures in place. you may have said but they don't. or anybody listening here. this can't be kept strictly in-- these rules cannot contradict house rules. any member of the house can see this material. any member of the house can. the last one. this one is the most amazing. i mean, we've been building up with un, two, three-- with one, two, three, four. i am happy saying the president's counsel may respond in writing, in open session, after the fact. everybody in this room, everybody in this country, everybody outside this country can do this. nybody that has an email address, anybody that has a pen and paper can write a letter to this committee. we're now letting the president-- we're telling him that he can do this? as if this president has a hard time expressing himself? i think he understands this in his counsel. then the chairman, after consultation to me, can invite the president. again, this shows you how, frankly, unfortunately, silly how we've gotten today.
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to put in number four resolution to say that the president and his counsel can write a letter to this committee. have we gotten to that point yet? really? so, look, the instagram filter has applied. make sure it looks good. spruce up the parts. make your story looks good. the press is here. we've been-- you know, i wanted a long time to be able to say this, welcome to fantasy island. we're here. it may look good. the unfortunate part is when the screen goes down, you just see a simple procedure issue. a simple procedure issue that doesn't do with impeachment or anything else. it simply gives another press release for whatever we're doing now. so it's early. it's 8:00. the popcorn's on. as i said, let the show begin. i yield back.
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mr. nadler: thank you, mr. collins. without objection, all other opening statements will be included in the record. are there any amendments to the resolution? for what purpose does the gentleman seek recognition? >> i have an amendment at the desk. mr. nadler: the clerk will report the amendment. the gentlelady reserves a point of order, a quorum is not present. the clerk: amendment offered by mr. buck of colorado. to a resolution for investigative procedures offered by chairman nadler. on page 4, beginning on line 97, strike the following-- or committee. mr. nadler: the gentleman is recognized to explain my amendment. >> i withdraw my point of order. mr. nadler: the gentlelady withdraws her point of order. the gentleman is recognized. mr. buck: my amendment is simple. it strikes the word subcommittee from the first procedure of this investigation. impeachment is a serious matter, mr. chairman. the american people deserve to have these proceedings play out in the full committee where we can more fully examine the evidence and charges brought
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against the president. not shoved away in some special subcommittee where only a hand-selected few members can gather evidence and question witnesses. this matter is so serious, in fact, that the full house has historically authorized the judiciary committee to open an impeachment inquiry, provided this committee with specific instructions for opening the inquiry. in fact, there are notes in an article from earlier this week, quote, the major difference between this resolution and prior procedural documents in connection with the last two impeachment proceedings is that this resolution is not connected to a vote by the full house, directing the committee to begin a formal impeachment inquiry of he president, end quote. the historical precedent is clear. on february 6, 1974, the full house voted to approve house resolution 803, which authorized the judiciary committee to investigate whether to impeach president nixon. this resolution also detailed how the judiciary committee could accept information and granted specific funds for the information. then, only after the full house
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had spoken, the judiciary committee unanimously adopted its procedures to handle material gathered during the inquiry on february 22, 1974. the committee then unanimously adopted procedures for presentation of evidence during the impeachment inquiry three months later on may 2, 1974. this committee also received instructions from the full house after leaping into the clinton impeachment inquiry. the committee adopted impeachment inquiry procedures and reported a resolution authorizing the inquiry to the full house. the full house then affirmed the committee's decision approving house resolution 581 on october 8, 1998. by jumping the gun and refusing to put this resolution before the full house, you are fundamentally denying both this congress and the american people the ability to fully participate in this inquiry. you even stated in a court brief dated july 22, 2019, quote, although the house has not considered a formal resolution, structuring any particular proceedings by this committee,
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such a resolution is not a necessary predicate to consideration of articles of impeachment. this also contradicts statements by speaker pelosi, majority leader hoyer, who have said that the house isn't opening an impeachment inquiry. mr. chairman, having been here during the clinton impeachment proceedings, i would have expected you would understand the gravity of this inquiry and would not cut this house's knees out from under it or potentially keep members of this committee from being involved in the proceedings by sequestering business to the subcommittee level. you at least owe it to the american people to have this inquiry be on display in front of the full judiciary committee. for that reason, i urge adoption of this amendment and i yield back. ms. collins: will the gentleman yield? mr. buck: i yield to the ranking member. mr. collins: i appreciate it. you brought out an interesting point. the chairman was here and was ery vocal in the clinton era
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impeachment issues on how this is supposed to go about and how you're supposed to do this. it's really interesting to see that what was needed back then is not needed now because there's a serious problem. they don't have the votes to go to the floor. now we have to make it up as we go. you brought up a very good point. i disagree that this deals with anything with impeachment but if they're going to apply, we need to point out the inconsistencies here. i appreciate the gentleman's mendment and yield back. mr. nadler: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. i recognize myself. mr. buck: mr. chairman, i yield back also. mr. nadler: thank you. [laughter] i recognize myself in opposition to the amendment. the amendment essentially says that -- the chairman can designate the full committee, a full committee hearing for purpose of presentation and impeachment investigation. but a subcommittee hearing annot.
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whereas the resolution says the committee or subcommittee hearing, the amendment would say only a full committee hearing. i would make two points. number one, there are so many instances of misconduct and allegations of misconduct that we may very well, in order to do a complete and thorough job, have to use subcommittee as well as committee hearings, there not be enough days otherwise for the task. number two, there is ample precedent for subcommittees being used in this fashion and i was on the committee when we -- during the clinton impeachment, as the gentleman states. then the committee under republican leadership, under chairman hyde, used the subcommittees to hold hearings on the subject. i remember in particular one subcommittee hearing in the constitution subcommittee on the question of what is an impeachment offense? subcommittees were used for impeachment hearings. as part of the impeachment investigation.
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the committee held hearings. at least the constitution subcommittee, maybe other subcommittees, i don't remember, also did. and there's no reason why we can't parcel out the work that is necessary to be done to subcommittees if necessary. so i oppose the amendment. any other discussion? mr. collins: move -- mr. collins: collins move to strike the last word. mr. chairman, you just made my point. you're using your snapchat filter here. you went basically to say -- mr. nadler: instagram. mr. collins: snapchat. i missed it. darn it. [laughter] we're so in fantasy land here, nobody knows what's going on. this is the problem. you just went back to what we said. instagram, snapchat, twitter, it doesn't matter, we're not in an impeachment inquiry. it doesn't matter what we're doing here. this is -- i don't care if you -- here's my problem. the chairman can do this at any time. the chairman can do this at any
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time. he just don't do it. because he wants the appearance of something that it's not. he just gave the answer to the gentleman from colorado saying that we did this in an impeachment inquiry. you're not in an impeachment inquiry. so you can continue to call it whatever you want. i think just be honest. let's just talk about what is here and not here. with that, i yield back. mr. nadler: yep. is there any further discussion on the amendment? the gentleman from texas. mr. gohmert: thank you, mr. hairman. i do support the amendment of the gentleman from colorado. it's sound. if we're going to do something, it ought to be in the full committee. but i want to direct you to the second paragraph of this resolution. it says, and i'm quoting from the resolution, the mueller
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report, quote, found that the russian government interfered in the 2016 election in sweeping nd systemic fashion. and we're going, yeah, ok. and what's that got to do with president trump? or impeaching president trump. and then we jump, i mean, i had thousands and thousands of felony indictments come through y court. from grand juries. this will be -- would be thrown out of court in any legitimate court because you jump clear from the russian government interfered in the 2016 election and then say not that president rump or the trump campaign was involved, oh, no. but that there were at least 10
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episodes of president trump using his official powers to thwart or attempt to thwart the special counsel's investigation. unquote. it's trying to make it appear, yeah, russia tried to interfere with our election, they've been doing that for many decades. they want to create as much chaos in america as they can. but then to jump over and make it appear, oh, well president trump was involved, no, he was not involved. and it is a fraudulent, deceptive paragraph, because this is supposed to be about the wrongdoing of president trump. yet the resolution makes a statement about russia that donald trump conclusively had nothing to do with. we had people at cnn, msnbc, all the regular suspects
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fraudulently asserting that there was no question the trump campaign colluded with ussia. and that surely they just knew that president trump was going to be indicted for it. well, information was fraudulently with held on these channels, that the clinton campaign had colluded, conspired ith fusion g.p.s., christopher steele, and conspired with russian agents to create a fraudulent dossier that they could use to attempt to affect the election to defeat candidate donald trump, we still have people like comey and rosenstein committing fraud upon the fisa court, swearing to information they knew was fraudulently deceptive, and they knew it was not only not verified, but the
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information had no basis in fact, while their own information was that it was completely untrustworthy. now comes this resolution that he is supposed to be setting up a basis for impeachment, or as we say in texas, this is fixing to be an impeachment. it isn't now. but maybe it's fixing to be. it starts out by stating a deceptive and fraudulent paragraph that russia did a wrong, even though the report, the testimony made clear there was no evidence of the trump campaign participating in that whatsoever. further, we know that president trump knew he had not colluded, nor conspired with russia, he knew the effort to say otherwise was the real fraud, so he kept trying to ensure that he was not framed by the conspiracy
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involving fusion g.p.s., christopher steele, and some others within the d.o.j. in other words, he was not bstructing justice, he did everything he could to make sure that there was justice, not a frame-up, not injustice, and here was no fraud except there was fraud, just not from his campaign. so how can someone be guilty of obstructing justice when the very goal they have is to do what they can to avoid a major fraudulent miscarriage of justice? it's time to put this aside. let the democratic candidates for president run on their own, and let's get back to being judicious. mr. nadler: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. is there further discussion on the amendment? for what purpose does the gentleman from wisconsin seek recognition? mr. sensenbrenner: i move to strike the last word. mr. nadler: the gentleman is recognized. mr. sensenbrenner: mr. chairman, i think everybody assumes that this is the next step in a
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relative to the potential of impeaching president trump. and i'm going to address that issue now. even though the text of the resolution doesn't specifically apply to that. we've heard from the other side of the aisle that the president wants to be above the law. i would respond by saying, this committee wants to be above the law too. and two wrongs don't make a right. everybody should be equal in the eyes of the law. we should be fair, we should be giving due process to people, you know, who are being investigated. and this resolution doesn't do that. and here's why. we will have all of these witnesses, we'll get all of this stuff that might be given to us, that has to be dealt with in executive session. and the committee has attempted to sue that.
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but it only allows the president to respond in writing, either in person or by counsel. as the ranking member has said, as the ranking member has said, anybody can write a letter to the committee. we get lots of letters on that. the president, if he wants to respond to something, can write a letter, just like any other citizen of the united states can write a letter. that's protected by the first amendment. but the difference between what is being proposed here and what happened both in 1974 and 1998, i have a little bit of familiarity with that, is that in both 1974, the democratic majority allowed president nixon's counsel to summon witnesses and to cross examine other witnesses. and in 1998, the republican majority allowed president clinton's counsel to do the same thing. and not allowing the president's counsel the same kind of rights as was done in the two previous presidential impeachments that have been put before this
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committee is a gross denial of due process. and we're the committee that's supposed to stand up and protect the constitutional rights of everybody. and that includes whomever happens to be the president of the united states at the time. now, let me say that, you know, i was scrolling the internet news. i do a lot of that when i'm back home over the weekends and there was one headline that said that this committee should either go bold or go home. this charade has been going on now since march 4. you haven't gotten enough evidence to convince a majority of the house of representatives to even authorize an impeachment inquiry and that's probably why the committee hasn't gone to the floor to ask for one.
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the votes aren't there. also, even if the votes are there to authorize an inquiry, and to impeach president trump, kicked out of office by the senate. i think that's been painfully evident since the beginning of what this exercise has been. we ought to be legislating, not continuing an investigation that hasn't come up with a smoking gun. the headline on the internet news said, go bold or go home. it's time to go home. i yield back. mr. nadler: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. does anyone else seek recognition? the gentleman from ohio. mr. chabot: thank you, mr. chairman. this is yet another resolution put forth by democrats on this committee to keep this so-called impeachment chatter alive and
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well, to look for something that isn't there. they lack the facts and they know it. instead of focusing on the opioid crisis or keeping families safe at the borders or rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure or lowering prescription drug prices, they've been busy on this committee pursuing a fake impeachment. what i mean by a faux impeachment, it's not happening. it's a charade. absolutely is. it seems like every week the majority is issuing subpoena after subpoena, holding hearing after hearing and passing resolution after resolution regarding an investigation that's already been completed by special counsel robert mueller at a cost of tens of millions of dollars, all so the democrats on the committee can keep talking about the possibility of impeachment without actually authorizing a formal impeachment inquiry. today we have yet another resolution that wastes more of this distinguished committee's time, to ostensibly give this
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committee the power to do something that's already in this committee's power to do. and still committee democrats haven't scheduled such a vote. nor has this committee marked up anything to authorize formal impeachment proceedings. here are the facts. special counsel mueller, after a lengthy and thorough 22-month investigation, indicated in his report, then sat before this very committee and testified that the president did not collude with the russians in their efforts to interfere in our 2016 elections. and the attorney general determined that the president did not obstruct justice. period. end of story. the democrats on this committee know that and they know that the american people know that. and that's why they won't pursue formal impeachment proceedings. but they also know that most democrats hate this president, they've decided that he's guilty, regardless of what the facts say. and so instead the committee democrats feel no choice but to investigate. and investigate. and investigate. until they find something that looks like a crime.
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well, this resolution we are spending valuable committee time on today is nothing more than smoke and mirrors. this is despite the fact that right before we return from the august recess, the d.o.j. inspector general issued a scathing report detailing the many ways that then-f.b.i. director comey violated department rules in the way he handled sensitive information. potentially jeopardizing our national security. and what appears yet another effort by the left to undermine president trump. democrats on this committee are much more interested in continuing to relitigate the mueller investigation rather than considering issues long awaiting consideration before this committee. this morning we could have used this committee's time to bring in and question inspector general horowitz about his recent report. but we aren't. and we likely never will. which is a shame. because americans, our constituents, deserve to know exactly what happened.
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and what can be done to prevent future leaks at the f.b.i. i hope that after today, democrats can finally move past this fake impeachment strategy and on to more pressing matters pending consideration before this committee. but i suspect that next week, when we return from our respective districts, they will find yet another way to continue down this rabbit hole. i yield back. mr. nadler: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. is there further discussion on this amendment? for what purpose does the gentleman from arizona seek recognition? >> move to strike the last word. mr. nadler: the gentleman is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i support the buck amendment. i think the gentleman from colorado is exactly right. this is something that if we're going to take up and move on, we should do this in the full committee. i think that is appropriate. the desire to maybe limit some of this to a subcommittee, you know what, if we're a self-governing body, we can
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change the rules, we can apply the rules as the majority sees fit, because you are the majority. mr. biggs: but i point to something that i think is important and it's the way this resolution is going forward and the importance of the buck amendment. but this is happening, the way this is developing needs some context. on july 26, the chairman told the d.c. district court that he had issued grand jury handling procedures for the house judiciary committee. such procedures did not previously exist. so the same day the these new rules were handed down with no prior authorization from the house, no open hearing, no committee vote. we told -- the chairman told the district court that we had these rules. those rules changes deserved a vote in an open hearing, just like any other rule change. just like what we're doing today. instead, those rule changes were drafted behind closed doors and implemented without the committee's input.
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that is a norm-breaking process. according to the court filing, the new grand jury procedures will prevent any member not on judiciary intelligence from viewing the grand jury material. i refer to you page 25. the grand jury handling procedures require any grand jury materials obtained by the committee be stored in a secure area with access limited to the members of the committee, certain staff and members hpsci and their designated staff. house rule 11 states no member may be excluded from the records of this committee. that rule cannot be set aside without a full vote of the house. the rule's clear. so one of two things might happen. either the chairman is going to
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say we're going to -- that we're somehow reading it wrong and procedures don't prevent noncommittee members from viewing, but then he better correct his application to the court, hasn't he? while we're reading his -- or we're reading his procedures right and they violate the rules of the house in which case he needs to clarify to the court that he misrepresented his authority. either way, that's an example of the problems that we see going forward in the fashion that we are doing in the committee today. now, that rule has been set aside in the past, of course. but how? by a vote of the whole house of representatives. during clinton impeachment, for instance, the house passed h.res. 525 which suspended that provision of rule 11. but it wasn't done in a judiciary committee hearing. it was done with the full house. because that's a rule of the house. in the rush to attack the president, the chairman continues to do serious and lasting damage to the integrity of this committee and this
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institution. the majority won't let anything stand in the way of their rush to impeachment. so when we get back to the amendment, the amendment brings us back to the full committee. and that's where this should be. that's where this should be. so, mr. chairman, i realize that there's some confusion. cnn said just yesterday, are democrats conducting an impeachment inquiry? it depends on who you ask. the chairman said, it has been an impeachment inquiry and continues to be. another representative on committee said it is not impeachment, which i think is what everybody wants to jump to right away. there was some confusion. i wish it were clear. it's not clear. and that's the point that the gentleman from wisconsin and also the ranking member were
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making. this resolution is designed to pursue an investigation into impeachment. that would normally take place after a resolution of the whole house. but we just had one of those two months ago and it was defeated by 2/3 of the members of this body. so, mr. chairman, it's obvious to me you can't get the impeachment going the way you want to. you're telling the court we're doing an impeachment inquiry. yet the body itself, the house of representatives, has rejected a resolution to impeach. so here we are with massive contradictions where members of the majority have told cnn just yesterday that it's unclear what we're doing. with that, i yield back. >> mr. chairman. mr. nadler: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. >> mr. chairman. mr. nadler: the gentlelady from arizona. >> i move to strike the last word. mr. nadler: the gentlelady is
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recognized. mrs. lesko: thank you. i support the buck amendment. in chairman nadler's opening statement, i believe i heard him say that some of the media is saying it's hard to know what we are doing here. and that's exactly what i want to know. what are we doing here? the judiciary committee in its 206-year history has never reported articles of impeachment against a president without first conducting an impeachment inquiry authorized by the full house vote. there has been no authority given. this resolution is yet another example of the majority utilizing this taxpayer-funded committee to influence the 2020 presidential election. that's all it is. it's a show. it's just one more example of the same time-wasting, resource-wasting, media-seeking activity that has become way too common in this committee.
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let's go back. first the democrats erroneously claimed that there was russian collusion with trump. and then they were wrong. because after two years, almost two years, at least $25 million spent of taxpayer money, 2,800 subpoenas, 500 warrant, the special counsel stated there was no collusion, no conspiracy with the russians in president trump's campaign or, for that matter, any u.s. citizen. so after realizing that their two-year claims at that trump was colluding with russia flopped, and that they were dead wrong, then they switched automatically to saying, oh, we're doing obstruction of justice.
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that's it. that's the next one. so we carried in witness after witness, you had in james dean, you had in robert mueller. those flopped. they're totally flops. and now i don't know what we're doing here. just more theatrics. more show. without getting anything done. nothing signed into law of any significance from this great committee. and with that, i yield back the balance of my time. mr. nadler: the gentlelady yields back the balance of her time. mr. jordan: thank you, mr. chairman. two days ago democrats on the house judiciary committee voted
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to take away an american citizen's second amendment rights, you voted to do that even though that citizen had commit nod crime and you voted to allow the rights to be taken in a court proceeding that that citizen doesn't even get to show up to defend themselves. now today you're changing the rules to make it easier for you to pursue impeachment of the president of the united states. changes in rules nine months into the new congress. first you vote to take away americans' firearms. then you vote to impeach the guy they elected president. all in one week. actually all in less than 48 hours. in the house judiciary committee. the committee that's supposed to protect the rules, supposed to protect constitutional rights, all in less than 48 hours you're
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to find something. never forget how this whole thing started. never forget how this whole thing started. a false accusation about the president of the united states, saying the president coordinated with the foreign country to influence the election. jim comey investigated that for
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10 months. guess what. he found nothing. and we know he found nothing because we deposed him and he told us after 10 months they didn't have a thing. but that didn't stop that 22 months later bob mueller does a special counsel investigation, he investigates it for 22 months and what does he tell us? other members have already said this. he found nothing. no coordination between the trump campaign and russia. they find nothing. but what do democrats want to do? change the rules, keep investigating. because we got to find something so we can impeach this president. maybe the country would be better served. maybe the constituents we represent would be better served if we actually figured out how the false accusation happened. and the good news is, as i've said before on this committee, the good news is that's exactly what the attorney general of the united states is doing. and thank god for bill barr. that's exactly what he's doing. but you know what. we can do the same thing. we can do the same thing. and a great place to start is right where mr. chabot just said. why don't we start with the
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inspector general, not just any inspector general, the inspector general for the justice department, which we have jurisdiction over, just issued a report two weeks ago, scathing report on the guy who's most responsible for this three-year saga our country has had to live through. jim comey. jim comey, the guy who opened the investigation, july, 2016, jim comey, the guy who allowed peter strzok to run that investigation after that guy had ran the clinton investigation, after that guy had said to lisa paige and other f.b.i. employees, don't worry, we'll stop trump. jim comey, the guy who allowed the dossier to go to the secret court to be used to spy on a fellow american associated with the trump campaign. jim comey, who leaked information to "the new york times" through his friends so we would get the special counsel. jim comey, the guy who on january 6 goes to trump tower, trying to trap the president while he's telling the president he's not under investigation. scathing report by the inspector general on that guy and when i asked the chairman two days ago, two days ago when he was busy taking away people's second amendment rights, when asked when we might have a chance to
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question the inspector general, his response, the chairman of the judiciary's response was, i don't know, we haven't thought about that. that is scary. that is scary. when you have the inspector general issue that kind of report and the chairman of the judiciary committee doesn't even know a thing about it. hasn't even thought about when we're going to bring him in so we can talk to him. this is the judiciary committee, for goodness sake. and think about what has happened in 48 hours in this committee. this is scary. and everyone in the country knows and everyone who said this earlier, they know that there aren't the votes to do this. there aren't the votes to do this right. so you're playing this game. in the judiciary committee. of all places. maybe if you were a little less focused on taking people's second amendment rights and impeaching the guy they made president, we could do what this committee is supposed to do. i yield back. mr. nadler: the gentleman from virginia. mr. cline: thank you, mr. chairman. move to strike the last word. >> mr. chairman, i support the
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buck amendment. we had a process of killing bills in subcommittee that weren't ready for primetime. a lot of times they didn't have recorded votes in subcommittee. so they were sent there in the hopes that they would die by a voice vote, never to see the light of day at full committee. but i actually forced our rules to change, to require recorded votes at subcommittee. so i think that the sunshine of the full committee is important and that's why i support the buck amendment. but this is time to consider something greater. i am so proud to be a member of the judiciary committee. it is the most serious, most substantive, the committee historically of the highest integrity. but what we have seen over the last six months is the j.v. version of the judiciary committee that i know. that i saw when i was a staffer for congressman bob goodlatte, the former chairman of this committee, back in 1998. and what we have seen over the past six months is an embarrassment. it's a recognition that an impeachment resolution could not pass the full house. so this committee's trying to
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have its cake and eat it too. trying to have the authority of an official impeachment inquiry, but without the support of the full house. and why is that? it's because from the beginning, the hearings and actions of this committee have been some of the most partisan actions that we've seen. and it was my hope that we can recognize the seriousness of the moment, the task of monumental and historic proportion that the gentleman cited back in 1998. when he was on this committee. and i'll quote your statement from this committee. the issue in a potential impeachment is whether to overturn the results of a national election, the free expression of the popular will of the american people. that is an enormous responsibility and an extraordinary power. it is not one we should exercise lightly. it is certainly not one which should be exercised in a manner which either is or would be
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perceived by american people to be unfair or partisan. if our conduct in this manner does not earn the confidence of the american people, then any action we take, especially if we seek to overturn the results of a free election, will be viewed with great suspicion and could divide our nation for years to come. mr. chairman, those are your words from 1998. i heard them myself. i would ask that we take this matter with the seriousness that it deserves and not go down this road we're going down today. mr. nadler: will the gentleman yield? mr. cline: i yield back. i yield. mr. nadler: thank you. i agree with what i said 20 years ago. i yield back. mr. cline: i yield back, mr. chairman. mr. nadler: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. who else seeks recognition? the gentleman from california. for what purpose does the gentleman seek recognition? >> to strike the last word. mr. nadler: the gentleman is recognized. mr. mcclintock: mr. chairman, as i understand, the chair's opening comments, it was in essence, since the rules are silent, that gives us the
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ability to make them up as we go along. well, no. when the rules are silent, precedent governs. and the precedent's clear, as my colleague from arizona pointed out. in the 206 years that this committee has sat, it has never conducted an impeachment proceeding without first being authorized to do so by a vote of the full house. that's because the power of impeachment belongs to the whole house and the whole house has not delegated that power to any of its committees. it must first make that delegation and to this date it has not. committees are creatures of the house, their only powers are those that are delegated by the house. committees can't freelance. if the majority wants to exercise the house's power of impeachment, all you have to do is ask the house to do so. all you have to do is ask the
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house that it direct and authorize this committee to conduct an impeachment inquiry. that's all you have to do. resolve that the house authorizes the judiciary committee to conduct an inquiry into the impeachment of the president. it's that simple. i dare you to do it. in fact, i double dog dare you to do it. have the house vote on those 18 words and then go at it. why won't you do that? it's because you want to give the illusion of impeachment without the reality of it. you're duping that portion of your base that is clamoring for impeachment into thinking you are, when you aren't. some democrats can tell their constituents they're conducting an impeachment inquiry while others can tell their constituencies that they aren't. you can have your impeachment and deny it too. that's why you won't pass that resolution. if this president is guilty of such heinous crimes as you're irresponsibly charged, why are you so reluctant to impeach him? if you can actually prove these accusations. as yo self welch once said, why
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won't you do so before the sun goes down? you won't do so because you can't. and if you want to know what an abuse of power truly looks like, it looks like what's to unfolding right now. i yield back. mr. nadler: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. does anyone else seek recognition? the question occurs on the amendment. all in favor will say aye. opposed, no. the noes have it. the amendment is not -- >> roll call, please. mr. nadler: roll call is requested. the clerk will call the roll.
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the clerk: [roll call]
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>> the gentlelady from texas. gentleman from tennessee. else not voted who wishes to vote? >> mr. chairman, there are 15
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ayes and 23 noes. >> the amendment is not agreed to. for what purpose is the gentleman from florida seek offereddamendment. gentle lady reserves the point of order. >> offered by mr. gates of florida, page 4 line 104 strikes staff and insert members. >> the gentleman will -- is recognized for the purpose of explaining his amendment. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> the gentle lady withdraws her point of order. >> i don't know what the majorities obsession is with having staff members ask questions to witnesses in these important proceedings. i've made the point previously and sincerely that i do believe that some of the most talented members of the democratic caucus are seated just on this judiciary committee. when democrats come together to decide who will speak for them
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on the floor on important issues like nominating the speaker of the house, they chose my friend mr. jeffreys. we have talented litigators, even presidential candidates who serve on -- i guess former presidential candidates who serve on the judiciary committee and i don't understand why this important task would be delegated to those who have not run for office, been elected and asked to serve on this body. and i know having talked to a number of my democratic colleagues that there is some regret over that matter. i actually think it's quite disappointing that we've not heard from the attorney general during our time and i think we would have had the majority been willing to allow the attorney general come and merely respond to questions from members of the committee. but this kind of paradigm of
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hiring cnn contributors onto the staff and trying to turn our committee hearings into a re-enactment of a cnn show is probably less productive than allowing our members to ask pointed questions. and if we zoom out a little bit and ask ourselves why we're here, it may be important to note that throughout all of the majorities theatrics, they have failed to move the needle at all when it comes to the people of this country. there was a poll on august 23rd that found that only 35% of americans support impeachment and 59% of americans oppose impeachment. so if we just check the score board, my friends, we'll find that you're losing and you're not making up any ground despite the fact that over and over again you try to smear the president of the united states with false accusations. i don't know what to call this. the chairman mentioned he
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wouldn't be debating the lexicon as to whether this was an impeachment inquiry or investigation. i've called it impeachment in drag because we've dressed up impeachment like an oversight hearing. perhaps it's low energy impeachment. but i would suggest that perhaps -- i would hope, at least, that these proceedings are not more about the chairman's upcoming primary challenge than about the important work of the committee and about the country because if we look at -- moan and groan all you want. we've got circumstances here where you guys can't move the country. you don't have any support for this endeavor and we lurch along -- it's like a seinfeld hearing. it's a hearing about nothing. when we have people come and give testimony, the president can write us a letter in response. this is more about defining our pen pal strategy than any
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legitimate investigations. but there are legitimate investigations we should be conducting. we should be determining what corrupt entities within the obama white house fanned the flames of the lies that president trump was engaged in a criminal conspiracy. we should investigate how someone can make things up and launch us into this bizarre fact pattern and disappear out of thin air and we should be investigating the fisa abuses where jim comey and other actors within a very corrupt deep state perpetrated a fraud on the fisa court. they went before a judge and they didn't present all of the evidence. and they did that so that they could shoe horn a secret court into giving them authorities that no government should have, to weaponize political opposition research within the confines of our really important investigate work.
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what brennan and comey and clapper and mccabe have done to our country is deeply damaging and it was my hope that as members of the judiciary committee, we could come together, we could root out this corruption and ensure it never happens again to another president. but in the meantime, can we adopt this amendment and stand behind our own arguments and our own questions as members of the united states congress and members of the judiciary committee, or is it the desire of the majority to delegate and slough off this task to the members of your cnn staff. i hope that's not the case and i yield back. >> i recognize myself in opposition to the amendment. i want to make two points. one, permits committee staff to question witnesses is consistent with house rules. under house rule 112 j 2 c a committee may adopt a motion and minority members to question a
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witness of equal specified periods. this has been a standing rule of the house since the mid '90s. second, the staff questioning of witnesses at a congressional hearing is far from unprecedented. examples include hearings related to involvement of the cia in watergate, iran-contra hearings, and the impeachment of president clinton in the 1990s, the impeachment of a judge, and a hearing to examine allegations of misconduct of fbi agents in the 2000s. most recently, participated questioning senior justice department officials. staff questioned several fbi and doj officials including then deputy fbi director andrew mccabe, james comey, loretta
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lynch. second point i want to make, is the objection is to -- is to the objection that we've heard from several of the republican members that this is not a real impeachment because the house has not voted to authorize the committee to conduct an impeachment inquiry. the committee's ongoing investigation to consider articles of impeachment, which is what we're doing, is fully consistent with the constitution, house rules and past precedent with regard to impeachment. first, as to the constitution, article one grants the house the sole power of impeachment. it does not say anything about a particular procedure. second, there is no house rule requiring the house to take a full vote before a committee engages in an investigation to determine whether to recommend articles of impeachment. in fact, the rule like that would be inconsistent with a rule that states each committee may conduct at any time
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examination at any time. third, house precedent demonstrates that the jurisdiction includes consideration of articles of impeachment. the committee -- the judiciary committee has conducted investigations to consider articles of impeachment without expressed authorization from the full house. examples include impeachment investigations of judge harry claiborne, irs commissioner, 2016, under the last republican majority. in fact, following the legislative reorganization act of 1946, the majority of impeachment resolution investigations conducted in the house have occurred without -- let me repeat that, the majority of impeachment investigations conducted in the house have occurred without the full house specifically authorizing an
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impeachment inquiry. the committee and the house have made clear that the committee has full authority to conduct this current investigation for the purpose of determining whether to recommend the articles of impeachment. in may the report approved by the committee made clear that one of the purposes of this investigation was to determine, quote, any conduct described in the special counsel's report warrants the committee on taking further steps on the article one powers. in june, the full house, voted to approve an amendment which firms that this committee have any and all authority under the constitution to conduct an investigation. a report by the rules committee expressed that this judiciary committees ongoing investigation including assessment of, quote, whether to recommend articles of impeachment with respect to the president closed quote. i myself have also noted that on
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several occasions that articles of impeachment against the president has been introduced and are under consideration by the committee. i do not agree with the argument that the full house must authorize an impeachment investigation simply because the house did so for presidents clinton and nixon. as the members at the time noted on the house floor, the resolution passed by the house merely reaffirmed the committee's authority to conduct its then ongoing -- it's already ongoing investigation. the cases of both presidents of nixon and clinton, it served a specific purpose, it granted the committee admission powers such as the authority to issue subpoenas and conduct depositions. the judiciary committee already has those investigate powers and all investigate powers necessary to conduct this work. we are conducting that
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investigation, we do not need a full house resolution to authorize it, it is authorized, and we are doing so, and i yield back the balance of my time. >> who else seeks recognition on the amendment? for what purposes? >> i move to strike the last word. >> the gentleman is recognized. >> let's get back to the amendment offered by the gentleman from florida. what the amendment does is say only members and not staff can examine and cross-examine the witnesses that are brought before the committee. i agree that the chairman has stated the precedents that have occurred in the past. but we're talking potentially about impeaching the president of the united states. and when we deal with something that is this serious and has only been considered three times
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before in the nation's history, i think it is important that only the members who are elected and who are accountable for their actions here in congress, to their own constituents, do the questioning, not unelected staff who can go all over the place and not suffer any type of electoral problems because of what they say or what they do. this amendment is a question of accountability. it is a question of accountability of the 48 of us that -- or 38 of us who have been chosen to serve on this committee. knowing full well what the committee's jurisdiction is. i think that this committee owes it that only members in hearings like this when -- when witnesses come before us question members and the constituents in each of the districts that we represent
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can judge whether their member is acting responsibilitily and in the public interest or not. not the unelected staff which i don't think we should be doing when we're dealing with an impeachment that is as serious as one as the president of the united states. so let's be accountable, let's adopt the amendment and i yield back. >> anyone else seek recognition of this amendment? for what purposes does the gentleman from georgia seek recognition? >> look, i think all things aside, and i think we've talked about a lot of things, this is important because the confusion that is out there, everything that's been talked about about saying, you know -- you even acknowledged in your opening statement that there's confusion out there about what this is and if you look at any of the hill papers, there's been this discussion are we in impeachment or not impeachment. i appreciate you reading this long list of discussions on when we've done this, i would not use
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any judge or judicial impeachments in this because that's actually within our purview, doesn't need anything else, that's where it's supposed to be anyway. put judiciary in here, it's nice to throw in, but it's not in the same vein. you talk about procedures mattering. and i made this point at the very beginning. nothing that we're doing today could not be done on any regular day. the problem that is coming up today is starting from last friday on until we settle this. it was this discussion also in court filings in which there have been a formal inquiry has started. that means a different thing to anybody that's wanting to discuss this. in this building we discuss and we will debate the comas and everything else. but the general public does not. they see the press release, they see the discussion, and they take it from there, and they believe something that's not
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happening. and it does matter. words matter here. you talked about procedures. here -- right now are 900 pages of procedures if we were actually in an impeachment inquiry. this is from the 74 and from the clinton. 900 pages of procedure. to say that procedure doesn't matter or that these three procedures are actually determining, you know, if we're looking into an inquiry, if you go back to '74, they determined that they weren't in an impeachment inquiry and they went back to the house to gain more subpoena authority for that. if we want to be historical, let's be historical. that's why it comes down to this issue that we've talked about all along here. you brought up the june vote. and the june vote had to have the june vote because there were questions from the court about the authority of what we were doing. that's where it's becoming an
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interesting issue here, we're not addressing the head on conclusion. you can't have this discussion in two veins because it's not what we're discussing here and we can all maybe agree on one point or the other point from a very fine legal term. but when it's out in the general public, when it's out there for the headline of a news or a media where they have to condense down to 600 or 800 words what is happening here and they do so with a headline. and whether it's -- whatever broadcast it is, they do it with a tag across the bottom on tv, a headline on the -- in their news articles or paper. they put out -- it's from this committee, saying we're in an formal impeachment inquiry. that triggers a completely different response from this committee, and we can agree or disagree on why we're here. but let's get the terms straight. let's acknowledge why it matters.
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you may want to impeach this president, fine, do it the right way. that's not what's happening here. we want to have it as a subtle backing saying, here's what we're doing, we're inching toward it. but we're making sure that everybody understands we're trying to hold the president accountable, but we can't get there because we don't have 218 votes on the floor. nobody on our side or anyone else, you've been talking about it for a long time. we get that, but don't hide rules of this committee which you could have done at any point at any time, on any hearing, these are already passionart of rules. from our side who discusses, who says, this is something going forward. we have to make sure this is wrong. no, from your side, let's deal in the reality. acknowledge that you're still looking for your answer. you two said it best, i still haven't found what i'm looking for, and that's what we're doing and that's okay. but at least acknowledge that
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there's a reason why these are not formal impeachment inquiries. there's a reason why the house has set this up. for you have served on it and spoke about it in the late '90s, you agree with me. you would have agreed with me now in your -- in the previous comments that are in the record from the impeachment inquiry. we just need to make sure you could have done all of this in a regular setting. but the problem is, you're wanting it packaged as if it's something it's not. that's why this concern is here. i yield back. >> mr. chairman. >> the gentleman yields back. gentleman from louisiana. >> i want to ask a -- maybe it's a point of inquiry, regarding your opposition to the amendment and i'm -- it's a serious
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question, mr. chairman. your opposing members doing the additional hour of questioning, i'm wondering, are we concerned about the time commitment or the co competent si. >> it reminds me of a question that i asked the senior member when i was a freshman and always regretted asking. >> i don't regret asking this one. >> let me say, the reason for staff is not -- remember, this is after the five minute rule. it's very clear and that's why in various inquiries, when democrats are in the majority, when republicans were in the majority, and i listed some of those inquiries, not all of them, it has been done that staff or staff counsel could ask questions because the
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five-minute rule can be disjointed and we will observe the five-minute rule after that. we may elect to have counsel for the majority and minority question up to a half an hour so you can pursue questions of the witness and it's been observed many times that that is a very effective -- i won't say more effective. but it's an effective way of getting at the truth and at illiciting facts. >> mr. chairman, but it's within the rules -- >> the gentleman still has recognition. >> i want to suggest -- >> would you like to strike the last word. >> strike the last word, yes. we could allow for additional time for members to do more questions. if the five-minute rule is unruly, let's add more time. this is a big deal. you're talking about impeaching a president. i'm sure we can find the time in
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our schedules and i'm quite confident in this committee. we've questioned witnesses before. this is well within our scope of competence and the reason we're on this committee is to perform duties like this. we can handle it, mr. chairman. why are we not allowed to do it? >> and i appreciate the gentleman -- what's interesting here is the exact same rules allows for what you just said. it allows members to have that time and extend that time. if the concern is time, fine. then we can do that. in fact that's what we will probably end up doing. but the same rule that we're using here is the same rule that can be allowed for us to have the same time. i yield back. >> yield to mr. biggs. i want to woi >> in other hearings, you'll see an extension of time to ten minutes. we can do that. we can change the rule. we can change that rule.
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but moreover, we could allow for multiple rounds for members to ask the questions. we don't have to designate to staff. we don't have to remove the responsibility that each one of us took upon us when we ran for office, when we were elected and appointed to this important committee, facing an important historical decision, whether we overturn an election. we don't have to settle and say, we're going to give it to the staff, we can do multiple rounds, we can extend the time. we can do that, mr. chairman. i think we have perfectly capable people on both sides of the aisle. if the object is to get to the bottom of this, to get to truth, so we can make an informed decision, the people that are making that decision ought to be allowed to ask those questions and with that i yield back. >> and i would suggest this is not unprecedented to allow
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members additional time. we were talking back here on the bench about our memory of typical benghazi hearing. why would we got be allowed to do that. i would argue we have the most competent committee in congress. these are attorneys. everybody on the dais, we should have the ability to do that. >> don't want to sound like pollyanna here, but i take it as a great compliment that they would rather have republican staff members ask the questions than any of us ask the additional questions. i yield back. >> let's clarify something, house rules is five minutes. we can go multiple rounds and we can do that, but what we're asking here is in the same rule that we can go outside of that five minutes by doing this with staff and with members. and i think that's the -- again, the very same rule is what we're dealing with here as we go
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forward. with that, i yield back to you. >> i yield back, mr. chairman. >> move to strike the last word. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i was struck when -- first of all, i think that the gentleman from florida's amendment is rational, it is purposeful, it is something we should do. i think it furthers the cause of getting at the truth here and allowing the american people to see what their representatives are doing. this would be a momentous hearing, this would be a momentous investigation if it becomes such. and i find it -- the inconsistency here, it is
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consistent somehow ironically with the inconsistencies i heard in the chairman's opening statement. and the response that he gave to the gentleman from florida. so he used this notion that -- and he provided many instances where there had been no resolution by the house prior to the judiciary committee conducting an investigation, but he could never list an impeachment proceeding against the president of the united states. remember, judges are appointed by senate. for practical purposes, they have devolved them to this lifetime commitment, they're unelected, they've not been elected by the people.
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instead, and the reason that this is so critical and the precedent has been it goes to the house first is because a president is elected subject to a vote by the people. we'll be responding to people within a maximum of four years. that's important. that's the distinction. that is why you typically would take this to the house floor first. right now you have almost 60% of americans oppose impeachment. that same monmouth university study cited by my colleague from florida also indicates that a majority of the country opposes the opening of an impeachment inquiry by this committee. the speaker of the house, the senate minority leaders have issued conflicting statements but they seem to indicate an opposition to an impeachment. less than two months ago, the
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entire body voted on an impeachment resolution and it was -- it was tabled. it failed by a vote of 332-95. 137 democrats, a majority of the democratic conference, voted against that bill. there are strange articles that are coming out in opinion pieces, one by "the washington post," wondering what is driving the chairman and the title of that article on july 29th was could a primary challenging be behind nadler's impeachment inquiry. i'm just citing that from t"the washington post". that is something to be considered. something interesting, don't you think? >> mr. chairman?
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mr. chairman? >> there's nothing shameful about it. >> mr. chairman? i would like to make a point of order that the committee rules prohibit questioning the motives of other members. i would hope -- and i never do that, and i would hope that members will be conscious of the rule and i think thank the gentleman. >> all members will be mindful of committee rules. >> i was not unaware of it. that's why -- look, i'm reading the title of an article that came out. that's all. but i will talk about inconsistencies yet again. when the chairman cites to the court that any such materials would be stored and secured location with access restricted to committee members, that is inconsistent with rule 11 of the
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house. and he cited rule 11 just moments ago, so i know he's familiar with its. those inconsistencies must be cleared up. with that, mr. chairman, i support the gates amendment. i think it's critical. i think it's important, and i yield. >> all in favor say aye? >> aye. >> oppose no. >> no. >> for what purposes does the gentleman from colorado seek -- >> i have an amendment at the desk.
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amendment offered, to a resolution to investigate procedures offered by chairman j jerrold nadler, replace with legislation attempting to obstruct justice and 1512 c-2. as those allegations, the office of special counsel did not draw ultimate conclusions and they did not conclude that the president committed a crime and never the less. >> the gentleman will -- is recognized to explain his amendment. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, most of the members of this committee are lawyers or previously -- >> the gentleman will suspend. the gentle lady will not insist of a point of order.
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the gentleman will proceed. >> thank you. most of the members of this committee are lawyers or previously in law enforcement. because of that, we should act like lawyers because we're the judiciary committee, we should seek justice and because we represent the american people, we should be fair. for these reasons, our committee has an obligation to use legal terms correctly. my amendment clarifies the language in the second clause of the resolution to ensure it uses proper legal terminology and accurately characterizes the mueller report. why is my amendment necessary? this resolution fails to convey special counsel mueller's conclusions. the chairman's resolution makes an error by using words that are not in fact a crime. where in the united states code does it say that thwarting is a crime? what is thwarting? the correct and proper terms
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would be obstruction and attempted obstruction. we are the judiciary committee and we should use the correct terminology. this resolution suggests the report found the president improperly used his official powers. mr. mueller's report makes clear that there were no such findings. the mueller report said the office of special counsel did not draw ultimately conclusions and did not conclude that the president committed a crime end quote. by falsely suggesting a criminal conclusion was reached, this resolution fails to provide the president with the presumption of innocence guaranteed by the constitution. i believe it is important that this resolution stay true to the law. the constitution and the findings of the mueller report. it does not. my amendment corrects for these oversights and inadequacies. my amendment deletes references to thwarting and attempting to
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thwart as these are not legal terms. replacing these terms with the correct terminology. and finally, it accurately characterizes the report's conclusions about obstruction quoting from the mueller report which is consistent with what mr. mueller has said publicly at a press conference. this committee should seek the truth in all we do. my amendment is a necessary amendment to ensure this resolution reflects the truth of the information we have reviewed. you would urge the committee to adopt my amendment and i yield to my friend from texas. >> i was just wanting to ask a question. you've obviously looked at this a great deal. if the president thwarts iran, thwarts north korea, that would no be a crime. >> i'm unaware of any crime
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using the term thwart. i'm aware of an wart, but i'm unaware of the term thwart. >> it's not a high crime or misdemeanor to be a thwarter? >> no. >> thank you for clarifying. >> i yield back. >> i recognize myself in opposition of the amendment. i will make two points, number one, an impeachable offense does not have to be a crime. and a crime, by the way, may not be an impeachable offense. those are two separate matters. an offense for which someone be impeached may not need be a crime. and the description found in the resolution accurately and adequately portrays the findings of the special counsel's report and therefore i oppose the
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amendment. i yield back. is there any further discussion? >> thank you, mr. chairman. before i weigh in on the buck amendment, i want to apologize because i was not trying to ascribe any motivation when i was quoting that. i want you to understand that. i apologize if i misspoke. but i support the buck amendment. i think it is important to be -- have clarity here and i think that mr. buck is right on the money here. i also want to point out another issue with the resolution on page 4, line 108, it says information pertaining to the committee's investigation shall be deemed in executive session. typically under house rule 11 states that all committee
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meetings shall be open unless the committee has voted that the meeting will be in executive session. what's happening then by deeming all information obtained to be received in executive session, effectively, not only are we delegating interviewing to -- and questioning to our staff, we're taking away a lot of the committee's right to vote whether they should be concealed from the public. this clause instead allows all information to be concealed in this quasi impeachment process that we're engaged in. you can on
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this clause is not limited, for instance, to grand jury information. this clause would conceal all information and i'm referring to the clause on page 4, it would conceal all information from the public without a vote from the committee, without us taking that vote in committee on each piece of evidence. my staff has worked with crs and they could not identity any instance where this committee has taken away the members of the committee's right to vote. taking away the member's right to vote in executive session appears to violate rule 11. certainly it is at least not in the spirit of the rule which is meant to keep all committee records public and available unless a specific exception is met. this is problematic. it prevents the committee members from viewing the committee's records and we're voting today to prevent the
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public from having access to committee records as well without any of the particular sections and exceptions. and so with that, i'm going to yield to the gentleman from colorado, mr. buck. >> i thank my friend from arizona for yielding. i'm stunned that you don't agree with me on this amendment. and saddened also. i just want to point out that -- and i'm sure a staff member wrote this and that the chairman while reading it carefully i'm sure, missed this one point, what the second whereas says, special counsel mueller's report found that the russian government interfered and president trump used his powers to thwart and attempt to thwart.
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it doesn't appear in the special counsel's report. the idea that the mueller report found that president trump tried to thwart or thwarted or attempted to thwart, it does not -- is not consistent with that report. the truth is, that the mueller report did not make findings as to the ten allegations. all i'm asking this committee to do is put in this whereas accurate, legal language that is cited in the mueller report so that the american public is not misled by this whereas. i think it is only fair that this committee not impugn the integrity of the president of the united states until such time as it has evidence that it wants to charge the president with. this is false. and it should be clarified and i
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would ask for the chairman to reconsider his opposition and i hope that members on the other side of the aisle agree that we should have an accurate document. and i yield back to my friend from arizona. >> whith that, i yield. >> the gentleman yields. for what purposes does the gentleman from pennsylvania seek recognition? >> to triek the last word. >> i support my colleague's amendment. i have one question for my democrat colleagues, will you conducting an impeachment investigation or not? because the resolution we are considering today does not authorize a formal impeachment inquiry despite what the press might report today. it is nothing more than an inquiry into whether to start an inquiry. none of these provisions are unique to the impeachment proceedings. anyone at any time can send a
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letter to the committee. every committee in the house can allow for staff questioning. what we're doing today is meaningless. you already have this power as a committee. so which is it? are you starting an impeachment investigation or not? is this just more spoke and mirrors so you can appease the far left while doing absolutely nothing about this issue or is this so you can avoid talking about an agenda that includes banning airplaning, eliminating our borders, maybe other parts of the platform, like defunding i.c.e., giving illegal immigrants free health care, maybe banning oil and gas exploration? is that what this is about? is this about distracting from -- >> would the gentleman yield? >> no. since november 2016, the democratic party has tried to
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undo the will of the to move on. they want us to work together. they want us to solve real issues that are facing america. they want their roads and bridges repaired. they want help fighting the opioid epidemic. and they want more money in their pockets to feed their families. so again, i ask, are you conducting an impeachment inquiry or not? if you are, just be honest with the american people. be honest with your colleagues. if you aren't, then let's stop these political games and let's go to work for the american people. i've got a bipartisan bill on clean slate. again, this bill is bipartisan. it would help millions of americans get away from the stigma of having a nonviolent criminal record on their record. it would help them re-enter the workplace, increase their wages. this is bipartisan. we could actually do this. i'm friends with a lot of my colleagues. i've talked to them privately. we want to do something to help the american people, and we can start with criminal justice reform and a slew of other issues. but mr. chairman, let's do something.
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let's stop the political theater. our country deserves better. with that, i yield back. >> will the gentleman yield so we can answer his question? >> no, i yield to -- >> so the answer is yes. we are engaging in an impeachment investigation. in addition to that, we have moved aggressively forward on the agenda. it is about driving down health care costs, driving down the cost -- >> regular order. >> -- taking on the corruption in washington. >> regular order. gentleman was not recognized. >> the gentleman from pennsylvania has the time. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i do thank my -- and i mean this with sincerity. i thank my friend and colleague from rhode island. i thank you. and with that, i yield to my friend and colleague from virginia. >> mr. chairman, i also want to thank the gentleman from rhode island for admitting that we all know is happening. this chairman -- this committee is trying to have impeachment without actually putting a resolution before the people, before this house. i want to thank mr. buck for his
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amendment revealing what a farce this process is. this resolution, which is, again, amateur hour when it comes to legal drafting, i have great respect for the chairman. i have great respect for members of this committee. they're accomplished attorneys. this committee should remember that words mean something. and what we are just revealing in this one amendment is just how these words are not legally accurate. we want this resolution, any product of this committee, to be legally accurate. let's be better. let's do better. or do my colleagues on the other side actually recognize and, in fact, as i question the special counsel, his interpretation of the obstruction statutes was incorrect and is not a normal and reasoned understanding of our obstruction statutes. so if they want to vote to
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reject that this is in fact obstruction as alleged, let them go ahead, but i appreciate the gentleman from rhode island's admission that this is, in fact, an impeachment process. >> does the gentleman yield back? >> i yield to mr. buck. >> i thank the gentleman for yielding. i saw the gentleman from rhode island leave. i didn't know if you were putting time out. nobody on the democratic side so far has voiced any answers. i appreciate the gentleman's answer. i yield back. >> the gentleman yielded back. the gentlelady from pennsylvania. >> i move to strike the last word. >> the lady is recognized. >> you know, the gentleman from rhode island got before me, but i, too, would answer, yes, we're in an impeachment investigation. have you not been reading the proceedings? i don't think there's a question. it's an investigation. >> does the gentlelady yield back?
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the question occurs on the amendment -- for what purposes does the gentleman from texas seek to speak? >> strike the last word. >> the gentleman is recognized. >> thank you. now that it's been publicly admitted that this is an impeachment investigation, then these amendments are even more critical as words do matter. and this would be litigated. going back to my days as a chief justice where we really had to dig on individual words. what does this word mean? and for whatever reason, the majority in this impeachment investigation chose to use twice the word fort. i could see this going up if it were a successful impeachment and removal from office, clearly it would go up to the highest
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court. and they would be stuck with the question of the president being a thwarter. they would have to deal with issues like does thwarting involve moral turpitude? we've already heard it's not a crime to thwart, that any of us are aware of. and the chairman had said, oh, it doesn't have to be a crime. well, does thwarting involve moral turpitude? there are so many issues that would be raised on appeal by the misuse of proper legal terminology. this would be litigated for time immemorial. it's just unfortune. if you're going to try to remove a man for office or seeking justice and trying to stop himself from being framed by an unjust group within the justice
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department, then you really -- this committee of all committees ought to use proper terminology and not create unnecessary litigation. i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. the question occurs on the amendment. all in favor of the amendment say aye. opposed say no. the amendment is not agreed to. any further amendments? no further amendments. a reporting quorum being present, the question is on the motion to agree to the resolution. all those in favor respond by saying aye. those no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the resolution is agreed to. roll call is requested. the clerk will call the roll. >> mr. nadler. >> aye. >> mr. nadler votes aye.
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ms. lofgren votes aye. ms. jackson lee votes aye. mr. cohen? mr. cohen votes aye. mr. johnson of georgia? mr. johnson of georgia votes aye. mr. deutsche? mr. deutsche votes aye. ms. bass? mr. richmond? mr. richmond votes aye. mr. jeffries. mr. jeffries votes aye. mr. swalwell? mr. swalwell votes aye. mr. liu? mr. liu votes aye. mr. raskin? mr. raskin votes aye. ms. demmings? ms. demmings votes aye. ms. scanlon? ms. scanlon votes aye. ms. garcia? ms. garcia votes aye.
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ms. mcbath? ms. mcbath votes aye. mr. stanton? mr. stanton votes aye. ms. steen? ms. steen votes aye. ms. powell votes aye. ms. escobar? ms. escobar votes aye. mr. collins? >> no. >> mr. collins votes no. mr. sensenbrenner? mr. sensenbrenner votes no. mr. gomert? mr. gomert votes no. mr. jordan? mr. jordan votes no. mr. buck? mr. buck votes no. mr. ratcliffe? mr. ratcliffe votes no. ms. roby. ms. roby votes no. mr. gates? mr. gates votes no. mr. johnson of louisiana?
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mr. johnson of louisiana votes no. mr. biggs? mr. biggs votes no. mr. mckleclintock? mr. mcclintock votes no. mr. armstrong? mr. armstrong votes no. >> gentlelady from california? >> ms. bass votes aye. >> gentlelady from washington? >> votes aye. >> are there any other members who wish to vote who haven't voted? the clerk will report.
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>> mr. chairman, there are 24 ayes and 17 nos. >> ayes have it. the resolution is agreed to. this concludes our business for today. thanks to all members for attending. without objection, the mark-up is adjourned. >> jerrold nadler and ranking
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member each spoke to reporters outside the hearing room.


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